CONSTITUTION OF FLORENCE. 6l » and there remain the officers chosen by the town under the acknowledged supremacy of the emperors. This supremacy was in theory always admitted at Florence until the empire expired; the Guelphs and the Guelphic towns did not deny it in their strenuous resistance to the emperors and the Ghibellines. As late as 13 54, when Charles IV. (of Luxemburg) made in theory subject his Italian expedition, the commune and peo- tot e emperor. p|e Q£- piorence appointed syndics who should acknowledge him in their name as king of the Romans, and their true lord, and in their name take the oath of fealty to him. It was understood that the commune was bound to nothing else save that to which, with other communes of Tuscany and Lombardy, they had been bound of old ; that the priors and gonfaloniers should be his vicars and no one else, that the commune and people should be exempt from all taxes, all ancient fines and the like, as well as from all juris- diction but their own within their territory, etc. This was a kind of compromise ; but the theory of the Guelphs, as we understand it, was that the Roman people created the empe- rors of old, and, acting through the church, conceded the election to the seven princes of Germany. "The" liberty of the Roman people was in no way subject to the liberty of the empire nor tributary, like the other nations who were subject to the people and senate and commune of Rome, and by the said commune made subject to their emperor." * Florence was in fact free and had room to expand itself and to perform various acts of sovereignty, nearly as much as if there were no suzerain over it at a distance. It appears with substantial liberty, first : Under the magistracy of consuls, a name which some of Consuls at Fio- ^e towns in the Roman times gave to their rence- chief municipal officer but which came in no direct tradition from the ancient consuls of the city. These * See Capponi, Stor. d' Ital., i., append, v,, where the capitula- tion between Charles IV. and Florence is given with some remarks of Matteo Villani and of the author. The words cited are M. Villani's, iv , 77, in Muraton, JR.. I. Script., xiv., 291.